So now what the hell do we do?? That’s a question that most of us are asking at the moment and from what I can see, there are varying levels of clarity around that question. I am a crisis counsellor and I work with individual clients who are in a heightened, anxious and uncertain state due to a random or unexpected event. Sound familiar?
There are two things that a crisis demands and that is decision and change. There is no way to navigate a crisis without decisions that have to happen and the changes that go along with them. Is this a bad thing? Absolutely not! In essence, a crisis pulls the curtain back, strips us back to basics, and forces us to re-evaluate, reassess, reframe and reassign what is important to us. Really? FML you may cry! Sometimes it takes a massive shock to the system to get us to have a really long, hard and honest look at what we are doing, where we are going, who is around us and what we ultimately want from life. However, a better life post-crisis is quite often 2020 hindsight (excuse the pun.) It is often not till long after the fact that we see what we went through was a blessing in disguise.
I know from personal experience this to be true. Looking back at some of the key moments in my life that were initiated from a crisis, I can clearly see how those events picked me up, shook me by the scruff of the neck and forced me to make major decisions that led onto a different and far better path. Had those crisis events not occurred, I would most likely have continued in the same blinkered and lacklustre manner that was familiar and comfortable. We do tend to cling to emotions, people and situations that are known, don’t we? Even though we may not want those things in our life we often hang onto them for dear life! What’s up with that? Thinking about making major changes is way too scary and difficult. Maybe next week, next month, next year? Too hard, I’ll just have another glass of wine and pretend everything is ok.
And then along comes a crisis. WTF!!!
Suddenly, all our deeply hidden and guarded truths are exposed for the world to see which is awfully uncomfortable. Perhaps we have been lying to others for a long time about the way we feel, what we went through, what we think and, what we truly want. Have we also been lying to ourselves? Most likely. Not anymore folks as the crisis has well and truly ripped the band-aid off on our behalf (thanks asshole) so there’s nothing for it but to deal with it. It is a bit like that dream where you find yourself showing up to school naked. You feel humiliated, terrified, embarrassed and very exposed. There are two options to this dreaded situation. One is to run and hide so nobody sees you or two, to stand there in all your glory and invite everyone to look at your bits. Then calmly walk off and get dressed. This is where you take control as you now get to choose what you want to put on. See where this is going?
Think of being in a crisis like being thrust naked into the clothing store of your dreams. There are endless combinations of awesome outfits available to you and you can have your pick. After getting dressed and checking out how fabulous you look, it’s now time to strut down the street and get on with a new and improved life. Have you picked up that the clothes represent life choices in this allegory? If not, I need to rethink my blog writing skills.
A crisis at the time sucks and I will not pretend that it doesn’t. However, if you can keep your wits about you and play the long game, they can be the best thing that has happened for you (not to you, big difference.)
The most important thing to remember is that the decisions you make now will have a lasting impact on the changes that follow. So, it is my sincerest wish for you all that you make good ones. Is crisis an opportunity in disguise? That is entirely up to you.
Namaste and high fives guys J